Between the ever-expanding metropolis of Orlando and the great Atlantic Ocean lies the Little-Big Econ State Forest, an area of Florida that is almost as undisturbed as it was centuries ago. The 19-mile shallow and narrow, black-water Econlockhatchee River serpentinely flows northeasterly from SR50 to SR46 through ancient forests of giant oaks and palms, cypress swamps and high sandhills, eventually feeding into the St. Johns River. The run is divided into roughly three sections;
SR50 to SR419, SR419 to Snow Hill Road bridge, and Snow Hill to SR46. The very narrow first section is shaded by tall cypress and is characterized by sharp turns, obstacles, varying currents, and often has low water making it necessary to portage around exposed logs. The middle 8-mile section is surrounded by the State Forest and parallels excellent bike and hiking trails and winds past high sandy banks, oak-palm hammocks and white sandy beaches. The last section broadens and deepens downstream and the sharp bends fade into gentler curves.
It passes through oaks that give way to palms and pasture land near the end of the trip at the St. John's River and SR 46. But save some energy to navigate the last section because it can be windy and relatively crowded with air boats and other power boats.
Use a current Florida map. From Orlando go east on SR50 to your selected put in. If you're traveling I95 travel west on SR50 or SR46 depending on your selected put in.
The river can be accessed from SR50, SR419, Snow Hill Road Bridge and SR46 and paddled up or down river with ease. There are no facilities (or fees) at these locations.